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Histone-lysine N-methyltransferase EHMT1 (EC 2.1.1.-) (Euchromatic histone-lysine N-methyltransferase 1) (Eu-HMTase1) (G9a-like protein 1) (GLP) (GLP1) (Histone H3-K9 methyltransferase 5) (H3-K9-HMTase 5) (Lysine N-methyltransferase 1D) [EUHMTASE1] [GLP] [KIAA1876] [KMT1D]


Two conserved epigenetic regulators prevent healthy ageing.

It has long been assumed that lifespan and healthspan correlate strongly, yet the two can be clearly dissociated . Although there has been a global increase in human life expectancy, increasing longevity is rarely accompanied by an extended healthspan . Thus, understanding the origin of healthy behaviours in old people remains an important and challenging task. Here we report a conserved epigenetic mechanism underlying healthy ageing. Through genome-wide RNA-interference-based screening of genes that regulate behavioural deterioration in ageing Caenorhabditis elegans, we identify 59 genes as potential modulators of the rate of age-related behavioural deterioration. Among these modulators, we found that a neuronal epigenetic reader, BAZ-2, and a neuronal histone 3 lysine 9 methyltransferase, SET-6, accelerate behavioural deterioration in C. elegans by reducing mitochondrial function, repressing the expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins. This mechanism is conserved in cultured mouse neurons and human cells. Examination of human databases shows that expression of the human orthologues of these C. elegans regulators, BAZ2B and EHMT1, in the frontal cortex increases with age and correlates positively with the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, ablation of Baz2b, the mouse orthologue of BAZ-2, attenuates age-dependent body-weight gain and prevents cognitive decline in ageing mice. Thus our genome-wide RNA-interference screen in C. elegans has unravelled conserved epigenetic negative regulators of ageing, suggesting possible ways to achieve healthy ageing.

MeSH Terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Healthy Aging
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • Histones
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Lysine
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurons
  • Proteins
  • RNA Interference
  • Spatial Learning
  • Transcription Factors, General